You can’t fly without the star
Have you checked your driver’s license for a gold and white star in the upper right-hand corner? If that star is not there, eventually, you will be required to get a new license that is compliant with the Federal Real ID Act.
Many Texans may likely have the star already since Texas began compliance Oct. 10, 2016. If there is no star on your license, don’t panic. Your license will be valid for identification purposes until the expiration date listed on your license. However, beginning Oct. 1, 2020, only state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards that contain the star will be accepted for official federal government purposes like boarding domestic flights. That’s right; you can’t fly without the star, so, if you are not planning to fly after Oct. 1, 2020, your license is valid until it expires.
Congress actually passed the Federal Real ID Act in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, “The REAL ID Act requires states to adopt and implement uniform standards for the issuance and production of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards if they are to be accepted as identity documents by the federal government. This Act strengthens the integrity and security of state-issued cards in an effort to reduce identity fraud and terrorism.”
Make sure you are prepared when you go to the DMV office to renew your license. To renew a non-commercial Texas driver’s license or identification card, you must bring your completed application for renewal, proof of U.S. citizenship or updated evidence of lawful presence, proof of identity and proof of your Social Security number. Of course, you should bring the cash required to pay for the renewal fee. For further instructions regarding the required documentation, visit www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/DL-32.